6 Keys To Choosing The Perfect College For The Arts

College criteria for ArtsBridge performing and visual arts students.


Students who worked with ArtsBridge consultants this year will be attending a wide variety of schools in the fall. From large universities like USC, Northwestern, and Tulane to more intimate programs such as Boston Conservatory, NYU Tisch, and Parsons, students relied on specific deciding factors while weighing their options. What criteria will you use to identify and satisfy individual needs and preferences? Once you are accepted, how will you make your final decision?


Deciding Factor #1: The finest reputation, or the best personal fit? Reputation counts for a lot. A decision this big needs to take into account how students and the outside world feel about the school. But just as important, if not more, are your feelings. What does your research, and your gut, tell you about the community, campus environment, school size, academic offerings, and extracurricular activities? No matter how great the reputation of the college or university, if you don’t feel like you belong, then you don’t.


This year, ArtsBridge college acceptances include: American Musical and Dramatic Academy, American University, Baldwin Wallace, Ball State University, Bard College-Conservatory, Berklee, Boston Conservatory, Boston University, Brigham Young University, CAP21, Carnegie Mellon University, Catholic University, Chapman University, Chicago College of Performing Arts, Coastal Carolina University…


Deciding Factor #2: The optimal arts program or a broad selection of majors & minors? If you have no idea what you’d like your field of study to be, you’ll want to be able to explore the possibilities in a school that provides plenty of options from which to choose. Even if your art is everything to you, it pays to be well rounded in your studies. That doesn’t mean you should necessarily attend a giant university. Many smaller schools and programs offer a comprehensive curriculum. Look at it this way. The more you know, the more you’ll be able to apply to your craft.


(ArtsBridge college acceptances continued) …Columbia College, Connecticut College, Cornish College of the Arts, County College of Morris, Drew University, Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, Elon University, Emerson College, Florida State University, Fordham University, Gustavus Adolphos, Hofstra University, Indiana University, Ithaca College, Lang – New School…


Deciding Factor #3: The newest & nicest facilities, or the most dedicated professors? It’s very easy to be swayed by new buildings, large comfortable classrooms, spacious lecture halls, and advanced features and resources. All of it can play a big role in a learning environment. However, make sure you take a deeper look, behind the walls of the new impressive structures, at the level of programs being offered. Then look into who is teaching the courses. When all is said and done, it’s your professors and instructors who will make the biggest impact on your academic life and beyond. You may want to check out ratemyprofessors.com for real student reviews.


(ArtsBridge college acceptances continued) …Lawrence University in Wisconsin, Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College of Music, Marymount Manhattan, Miami University, Millikin University, Montclair State, Mount Holyoke, Muhlenberg, New York University, NYU Steinhardt, NYU Tisch, New School for Jazz, Northwestern University, Oberlin Conservatory, Ohio Northern, Otterbein…


Deciding Factor #4: The most famous celebrity alumni, or the best internship connections? Sure, celebrities have cachet. And you may be taken by the idea that certain successful and famous people attended your school. In fact, friends and family members may be impressed as well. That’s not a bad thing. But ultimately, you have to ask yourself, what’s going to mean more to you as you build your career resume?


(ArtsBridge college acceptances continued) …Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Pace University, Parsons – The New School For Design, Penn State University, Point Park University, Pratt Institute, Rider University, Roosevelt University, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Sarah Lawrence, Shenandoah Conservatory, Sheridan College, Skidmore, Syracuse University…


Deciding Factor #5: The right distance from home, or the right location and community? This may be the most personal decision you have to make when selecting the right school for you. Yes, it’s often a good idea to stretch and expand your horizons (literally). But, first and foremost, you need to feel comfortable that you made the right choice. And if that means being closer to home, so be it. You don’t need to do any cross-country traveling, to find excellent schools that match your academic criteria and meet your personal needs.


(ArtsBridge college acceptances continued) …Temple University, Temple Tyler Honors Program, Texas State University, Tulane University, University of Arizona University of Denver – Lamont School, University of Hartford – Hartt School, University of Miami, University of Michigan, University of New Hampshire, University of Northern Colorado, University of Oregon, University of Utah, University of Southern California


Deciding Factor #6: The most active social scene, or the most interesting activities? It’s no secret that, when you’re in college, you learn as much about yourself socially as you do academically. It’s important to make connections with other students. These relationships can often turn into life-long friendships, or at the very least, impact the way you connect with people outside of college and after graduation. You don’t, however, need the party school of the century to have a great social life. Most schools provide many campus activities and clubs. It’s always a good idea to identify your interests and find a correlating activity. It’s a great way to connect with people who have similar interests.


ArtsBridge is a unique consultancy for theater, music, dance, and visual arts offering specialized, college coaching services and arts education expertise.

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